John Sutherland

Alms for Oblivion

The hoo-ha whipped up for literary anniversaries is a recent phenomenon. It began, as I recall, about the same time as the odious commercialisation of Mothering Sunday into Mother’s Day. The first such celebration I remember was that for the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, in 1964. There were commemorative volumes, conferences, leaders in The Times and, longer lasting than the tub-thumping, the establishment of a dubiously handsome centre in Stratford – itself the object of semi-centennial celebration last year.

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